Butterfly Species that Migrate Here

Paul asked me this, and I thought it was a nice excuse to hash out butterfly life history strategies. The answer, though, is not simple, so I’m going to define it in the context of our locality. We actually have a good reference point to split migration vs. hibernation, since it’s easier to sort out with the butterflies that occur here. Do they stay overwinter (hibernate), or do they come from somewhere else (migrate)? The answer is, not many species here appear to migrate. The ones that do occur here regularly and likely come from somewhere else are…

  • monarch
  • painted lady
  • red admiral
  • common buckeye

There are also rarer species that stray to the upper Midwest, that I didn’t list here. To me, they seem more like “vagrant birds” than species who actually come here as a normal part of their life history. The rest are known to hibernate through the winter here and emerge in the spring.

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